The Stigma of Being an Art Student

Throughout my life, and especially in my time here at Salem State, I’ve observed a  misconstrued portrayal of the importance of art in learning, and in the world. There is this preconceived notion that if you are an Art Student (and I even include all of the degrees that fall under Bachelor of Arts instead of Bachelor of Science) that you are only in your degree because you are not smart enough to complete a “worthwhile” degree.

This idea is wrong.

Art is incredibly difficult and requires a wide set of varied skills. To be an artist, you need to have critical thinking skills, reasoning skills, communication skills, the ability to observe, patience, improvisation skills, physical strength, creative thinking skills, an understanding of math, even an understanding of physics in some cases.

In fact, bringing skills and methods of thought to fields outside of the Arts can be incredibly helpful in your success in your career and in your life. Being able to think creatively can help you solve that crazy long math problem. Being able to communicate effectively keeps the wrong chemicals from being mixed in the lab. The ability to observe is critical in science – recording observations is what makes science what it is and not just a silly experiment for fun. The Arts and Sciences really aren’t that different after all.

Recently, I’ve seen many cases of people making fun of Art students: after a young child bumped her head while running, I overheard someone say “There goes math! Looks like she’s going to be an Art student!” I read online the other day, “When art students complain about their work load I find it comical. They could never pass organic chem.” I even saw this picture:

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I am an Art Student. In fact, I am also a Fine Arts Student. I am taking seven classes this semester. That’s a pretty heavy workload. On top of the seven classes, I have to complete at least 50 hours of work in my department outside of class, each semester. I have to interview to stay in my degree, each semester. Just because we aren’t in a lab does not mean that we are not busy – or that our skills are invaluable.

Without art, there would be no poetry, no music or concerts, no films, no museums, no plays, no pictures, no monuments, no stylish clothing – the world would become infinitely boring.

To invalidate someone’s career path and someone’s passions is cruel; we are all here working toward the same goal – to graduate with a degree in a field we enjoy.

It’s time to be supportive of the people around us. We are all working hard. Everyone learns differently and thinks differently, but that is what makes life so interesting.

Be kind to those around you,
FYM Kelly

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